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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Home Science Maintain Basic Knowledge for family life Higher secondary school College

Meaning Of Life Span Developmental Changes

The term development means a progressive series of changes that occur as a result of maturation and experience. To understand the pattern of development, certain fundamental and predictable facts must be taken into consideration.



The term development means a progressive series of changes that occur as a result of maturation and experience. To understand the pattern of development, certain fundamental and predictable facts must be taken into consideration. They are


a. Early foundation are critical:


Attitude, habits and patterns of behaviour established during the early years of age, determine to a large extent how individuals will be able to adjust to life as they grow older. The foundations laid during the first two years of life are the most critical.


b. Role of maturation and learning in development


Maturation & learning play important roles in development. Maturation is the unfolding of the individual's interest traits -functions which are common to the human race such as crawling, sitting, walking, etc.


Learning is development that comes from exercise and efforts on the individual's part- these are specific to the individual like writing, driving, swimming, etc.

c. Development follows a definite and predictable pattern


These are orderly pattern of physical, motor, speech, intellectual development eg: laws of developmental direction -the 'cephalocaudal law' which maintains that development spreads over the body from head to feet and the 'proximodistal law' which maintains that development spreads outward from the central axis of the body to the extremities.

d. All individuals are different


Every person is biologically and genetically different from every other, even in case of identical twins and there is evidence that differences increase rather than decrease as children grow from childhood into adolescence and eventually to old age.

e. Each phase of development has characteristic behaviour


During the growing up years, the patterns are marked by period of equilibrium, when individuals adapt or adjust easily to environmental demands and as a result, make good personal and social adjustments. The other is periods of disequilibrium, when they experience difficulties in adaptation and as a result make poor personal and social adjustments.

f. Each phase of development has hazards


There is evidence that each period in the life span has associated with it certain developmental hazards or problems, Which can be physical, psychological, social or environmental in origin and these inevitably involve adjustment problems. Awareness of these hazards will help people to cope with these and adjust better.

g. Development is aided by stimulations


Stimulation in the form of support and encouragement given to children by parents and elders will aid development in children in the desired direction.

h. Development is affected by cultural changes


Individual's development and behaviour is moulded to conform to cultural standard and ideals and life style. Changes in these standards affect the development pattern.

Social expectation for every stage of development


Every cultural group expects its members to master certain essential skills and acquire certain approved pattern. These are referred to as 'developmental tasks' - a task which arises at or about a certain period in the life of the individual. Successful achievement of these tasks will lead to happiness and to success with later tasks.

Traditional beliefs about people of old ages


These beliefs about physical and psychological characteristics affect the judgment of others as well as their self evaluation. This is true of the traditional beliefs about sex differences and the cultural stereotype of males & females at all ages. So long as they persist, they have a profound influence on the developmental pattern.


After a brief note on the meaning of development and pattern of development of let us try to understand the different stages in the life span and the developmental tasks during the life span.


Stages in the life span

a)       Prenatal period     - conception to birth

b)      Infancy       - birth to the end of the second week

c)       Babyhood   - end of the second week to

end of the second year.

d)      Early childhood    - two to six years

e)       Late childhood     - Six to ten years or twelve years

Puberty or preadolescence  - Ten or twelve to thirteen or

fourteen years

g)       Early adulthood   - eighteen to forty years

h)      Middle age  - forty to sixty years

i)       Old age       - sixty to death.


Havighurst's developmental tasks during the life span Babyhood and early childhood

Learning to take solid foods

Learning to walk

Learning to talk

Learning to control the elimination of body wastes

Learning sex differences and sexual modesty

Getting ready to read


Learning to distinguish right and wrong and beginning to develop a conscience

Late childhood

Learning physical skills necessary for ordinary games


Building a wholesome attitude toward oneself as growing organism


Learning to get along with age-mates


Beginning to develop appropriate masculine or feminine social roles


Developing fundamental skills in reading, writing, and calculating


Developing concepts necessary for everyday living


Developing a conscience, a sense of morality, and a scale of values

Developing attitudes toward social groups and institution

Achieving personal independence



Achieving new and more mature relations with agemates of both sexes


Achieving a masculine or feminine social role

Accepting one's physique and using one's body effectively

Desiring, accepting, and achieving socially responsible behavior

Achieving emotional independence from parents and other adults

Preparing for an economic career

Preparing for marriage and family life


Acquiring a set of values and an ethical system as a guide to behavior - developing an ideology

Early adulthood

Getting started in an occupation

Selecting a mate

Learning to live with a marriage partner

Starting a family

Rearing children

Managing a home


Taking on civic responsibility

Finding a congenial social group

Middle age

Achieving adult civic and social responsibility


Assisting teenage children to become responsible and happy adults


Developing adult leisure-time activities

Relating oneself to one's spouse as a person

Accepting and adjusting to the physiological changes of middle age


Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one's occupational career


Adjusting to aging parents

Old age

Adjusting to decreasing physical strength and health


Adjusting to retirement and reduced income

Adjusting to death of spouse

Establishing an explicit affiliation with members of one's age group

Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements

Adapting to social roles in a flexible way

Having learnt the pattern of development, stages in the life span and

developmental tasks during the life span, let us go into details of each stage, starting from prenatal period, which is the first stage in the life span to late childhood.

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11th 12th std standard Home Science Maintain Basic Knowledge for family life Higher secondary school College : Meaning Of Life Span Developmental Changes |

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